Killer Robot Use In Dallas Raises Ethical Questions - InformationWeek

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Killer Robot Use In Dallas Raises Ethical Questions

Dallas police used a robot to deliver and detonate a bomb to stop a suspected sniper who killed five officers and injured nine others. This deployment raises ethical questions.

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A bomb-toting robot's deployment to shut down a suspected snipper in the Dallas shootings last week marks what is believed to be one of the first uses of robots to terminate human life, rather than help it, in a non-warfare situation. This use raises ethical questions about such actions.

The suspect, Micah Xavier Johnson, allegedly killed five police officers and wounded nine others in downtown Dallas, during a peaceful rally to protest the recent Minnesota and Louisiana police shootings that killed two black men, according to media reports.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown, in a press conference aired on NBC, said after negotiations with the suspect broke down and he began firing on police officers, a decision was made to equip the robot the department uses to remove bombs to deliver them instead.

 "There was no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger," Brown said.

(Image: Manakin/iStockphoto)

(Image: Manakin/iStockphoto)

The decision by the Dallas police to use a robot to kill a person is believed to be a first, outside of military warfare, according to a report in Fortune. The military has used MARCbots with land mines strapped on during the second Iraq War.

The robot used in the Dallas shootings was operated under manual control by a human, even though technology exists to have bots with artificial intelligence perform tasks autonomously, according to a report in USA Today.

"When it comes to life and death, you want people making those decisions," Martial Hebert, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, told USA Today.

When it comes to robot and drone use in the military, there are currently three major global debates underway relating to ethics, Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor who focuses on robotics policy and law, told The Verge.

[Read Google Developing Panic Button to Kill Rogue AI.]

One debate centers on whether society should allow a robot to make a decision to kill, or whether a human being should always be involved in the process, Calo said.

A second debate examines the process that is used to select who should be on a kill list and the deployment of drones to terminate those on the list.

Finally, if nations used armies of only robots, would the situation generate more violence because human lives would not be at risk, whether or not there were human operators?

The ethical debate for local law enforcement using weaponized robots and drones has not yet reached similar proportions.

"Maybe there should be policies in place for how robots are used, maybe we can be considered about the overuse of robots in policing, but this debate is not connected to the greater debate about the military use of robots, in my view," Calo told The Verge.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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8/10/2016 | 12:30:12 PM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
tjgkg, 

You have found the one word that summarizes it all: Chaos.

The advancement and easiness of travel and communications shouldn't have a negative side, though. As someone who travels often and hates feeling like a suspect, I can tell you that one of the problems I consistently see is that making things more difficult to the good people is not stopping the bad people to go commiting crimes. They simply get smarter and find new ways. As in cybersecurity happens, they always seem to be one step ahead. That's not good, isn't it? That's what needs to be fixed.

You say about borders, but there are other ways of moving around and certainly the ones who need to be stopped are not traveling and crossing borders like us. Is air traffic efficiently controlled? What about the seas and shores? 

It's impossible to control communications. It's true that many crimes have been commited for the instant moment of fame. Who is to blame here? If certain media wouldn't devote their efforts to give them so much publicity, if instead, they would report the facts, short, it might help. But they wouldn't create such a huge wave of shares and clicks. Business first, right? That's how it is. 

Yes, the Internet can be both a blessing and a curse in this case. It makes it easier to plan crimes, as you say, but it also makes life esier for us. As said before, new ways of stopping criminals need to be created without altering and bothering the life of everybody else. 

<"So I think the miscreants have always been here, they now just have an easier path to organize, plan and carry out their crimes. And with the lax security, the crime can more often be comitted than prevented."> Yes, I completely agree. New security alternatives should be created. The old ones don't work any more. 

-Susan

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/10/2016 | 10:56:24 AM
Re: Killer Robot? Really?
tjgkg, 

I got in trouble with the Biology teacher. I didn't care much. I was sure of what I had done, or not done. I told my mother. She said I did the right thing.

Never too old to change. :)

Yes, it was very distrurbing. You then realize that is not enough to stay away from trouble. That even if you are doing something as healthy as going for run you might be killed. There is not even need for a gun involved.

Freedom implies feeling safe when you leave your house in the afternoon to train for a marathon. I didn't know about the other killing in Boston. If the possibility of a serial killer is being contemplated it's not good. What about the CCTVs?    

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2016 | 4:29:03 PM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
Terry, 

There are many countries in South America. Where is it that you say gun possession is legal? Is it legal in Mexico to have a gun in your house? 

The same with Europe, there are many countries in Europe. It's not fair to be general in this topic. For example, in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries you won't find the high rate of crime you can find in the US, the kind of crimes and vilonce we are discussing here. 

Well, neither guns nor trucks kill people. People kill people. I see your point. No, you can't ban everything because anything can be a weapon. 

I agree with you: Trucks have auseful porpuse. They are not made to kill people. Guns are. So, we can't really compare them, can we? 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2016 | 4:08:17 PM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
tjgkg, 

Yes, everything is getting out of control, not only the problem with guns. Violence is out of control. I don't remember in what part of NY that girl was killed, but it doesn't matter much. What matters to me is that she went for a run in the afternoon --I think she was training for a marathon-- and somone raped her and killed her.

So it's not just terrorism and guns. There is something really wrong with some people's mind. How do you fix that? You really need to dig in society, find the cause of the problem, and fix it. Does that ever going to happen?

-Susan  

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2016 | 3:42:46 PM
Re: Killer Robot? Really?
tjgkg, 

I refused to kill animals for Biology class. I wonder if someone ever learned anything from that. This is one good example where Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can be really useful. 

Well, I didn't use the term "experiment" but "testing." And I was referring to new drug testing. It didn't occur to me any WWII revival. Although, if I think of the criminal who attacked, raped, and killed that girl in New York recently, the one who had gone for an afternoon run, I wouldn't mind using him for any kind of testing that would bring something good to others. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/8/2016 | 5:34:31 PM
Re: Killer Robot? Really?
tjgkg, 

Perhaps you pictures a Frankenstein's kind of medical experiment? :) I am thinking more in new drug testing which could possibly cure cancer, or any other fatal illness and need to be tested for determining side effects, etc. It just occured to me that they could also be used for dermatological and beauty product testing as well. I would feel much better knowing a shampoo was tested on a rapist eyes rather than on an innocent rabbit. Really.

How is the death penalty right for you, but medical testing on rapists, murderers, and such criminals doesn't seem to be right? Could you please explain? I don't quite understand. Why would you have consideration toward them and wouldn't use them for testing drugs which could cure people, but the death penalty is Okay? 

-Susan  
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/21/2016 | 6:01:59 AM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
Terry, 

If people are irresponsible they shouldn't be granted rights to possess guns. What other country has the problem with guns the US has?

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/13/2016 | 9:45:47 PM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
TerryB, 

In a nutshell, imbalanced people killing innocent people will never stop in the US then. Have you ever wondered how other countries manage to deal with crime if common citizens don't own guns, and how those countries even have a much lower rate of crime? 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/13/2016 | 9:30:22 PM
Re: Bomb Carrying Robots
Technorati, 

This was going to happen any time. The technology is there and it's there to be used. If it is used with responsibility I don't see any problem. In this case, I believe it was well used.

Too many lives had been lost already in the hands of someone who didn't mind killing people for the sake of it. He had to be stopped. There was not other option that could have guaranteed no more lives would be lost in an attempt to stop him. 

The robot was not an AI. It was not a killer robot. It was a piece of machine designed and controlled by a human, not different than a gun. There is not even an ethical issue here. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/13/2016 | 2:07:35 PM
Re: Killer Robot? Really?
tjgkg, 

<"Had he been taken alive, there was not only graphic evidence of his guilt, but also the fact thsi was premeditated so a death sentence would have certainly followed ... ">

Remember that discussion about human medical research and using inmmates with death sentences that could be used for this? If he had been taken alive, wouldn't had he been a good candidate for medical research? 

-Susan 
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